Though established as long ago as 1968 in Geneva, the International Baccalaureate program’s popularity in India has shot up only in the last decade or so. According to educationists, the rise in the popularity of IB schools is primarily due to an increased global exposure of Indians traveling abroad for work and NRIs who are aware of the benefits of international education and plan for their children to study abroad. However, most parents and their children seem to be unsure about what to do if they plan to stay back and pursue higher studies in India. Some tips:
Choose the Subjects Carefully
It is possible to choose from a wide variety of subjects at both the standard and the higher levels. This makes it easy for students not quite at ease in a particular subject to take it at a standard level. Typically, students end up taking up three subjects at each level, with the sort of combinations that can only be the envy of students enrolled in other Indian school boards. For example, students in best IB schools in Pune can study Math, Biology, Economics, English, Spanish, and Theater!
However, irrespective of what you can select, you should opt only for those subjects that will be useful in pursuing your higher studies. Thus, one should not make the mistake of dropping math if the intention is to study science later on. Additionally, students are required to compose extended essays, finish modules on knowledge theory, and complete a certain number of hours of creativity, action, service (CAS) to qualify for the IB certificate. Failure to clear all the subjects will result in an award of a diploma.
The IB program envisages students being given a predicted score based on their course performance and sometimes, a mock test, to enable them to apply for various universities in India and abroad. Despite IB’s recognition by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), many Indian universities are reluctant to consider this as an admission criterion. Further, the conversion of IB scores into percentages disadvantages students and makes admission difficult in institutions where cutoffs can often be in the mid or high 90%.
Necessity of Taking a Gap Year
With both the IB examination and the entrance tests of various Indian universities and colleges taking place almost simultaneously in May every year, IB students have a torrid time. This is the reason why IB students wanting to pursue higher studies in India often take a gap year to enable them to prepare better and take the entrance tests the next year. However, IB students find themselves better equipped to appear for aptitude tests involving analytical and critical thinking due to the course structure.
While the IB program is unmatched for its flexibility and course content that builds critical thinking abilities, often the biggest challenge for students pursuing higher studies in India is getting adjusted to rote-learning methodology followed by a large number of Indian institutions. However, most students are easily able to overcome this and can spend their time in more fruitful extra-curricular activities for personality enrichment.